Michael ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare was born to Irish parents in Calcutta in 1919, but spent much of his youth in England. After leaving school, he began training as an accountant and joined the Territorial Army. At the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted in the London Irish Rifles before joining the Royal Armoured Corps as a 2nd lieutenant, eventually becoming a major. Following the war, he qualified as a chartered accountant and emigrated to South Africa. By the 1960s he yearned to be a solider again, which led him to the Congo.
Hoare’s military career came to an end in 1981 when he was jailed in a South African prison after unsuccessfully leading a Seychelles coup. Despite this failure, his status has remained unimpeachable, and he is widely considered as the world’s best-known mercenary. Hoare is the author of six other historical memoirs. He died in in February 2020 at the age of 100.